In the justice system, different types of evidence such as witness statements, DNA tests, objects found at a crime scene and also victim statements are used to sentence criminals. Each of the evidence presented to a court tends to hold valuable information that may be used to either free a defendant or convict him to prison life. Most of this evidence is reliable; however, victim statements cannot be entirely reliable since a victim may use the harm caused on them by criminals to ensure that they receive harsh judgments from the law. This paper looks at arguments for and against victim statement.
Victim Statement and Impact on Offenders
Today victims of crimes can voice their experiences in the hands of offensive criminals in criminal justice system as a result of the victim’s right movement (Fisher & Lab, 2010). These victims have a chance to testify against their offenders in court so as to give an account of what they went through as well as the impact of their experience. A judge and the jury, as well as a prosecutor, are able to get firsthand information on what happened based on what the victim statements portray. The offender is most of the times at the risk of receiving a harsh punishment or an extended sentencing when a victim of a crime is given a chance to testify (Boyes-Watson, Krumholz, & Rich-Shea, 2014). Moreover, most of the times these offenders have no chance of being free especially after a victim emotional state is evident in a law court.
Reasons for Victim Statement in Courtroom
The first reason as to why victim statement should be allowed in courtrooms is because the victim right movement gives them a right to voice their thought and feeling. Every individual has a freedom to express what they feel and think, and victims of criminal offenses are no exception. Secondly, any decision made on an offender also affects the victim because if the perpetrator is free of his crime since he is not proven guilty only increases the emotional instability of a victim. As such as the case mostly involves their lives and how the decision will change their lives, victims should be allowed to testify in courtrooms.
Reasons against Victim Statement in Courtroom
Victim statements tend to increase the sentencing on an offender of a crime and thus limiting chances of these criminals to be free of crimes (Dubber & Hörnle, 2014). Therefore allowing for a victim to testify in a courtroom will also limit the opportunity of an offender to correct their mistakes. Victims also tend to use their emotional state to manipulate court decisions in their favor since they are aware that judges and juror are more likely to consider their emotional state in sentencing a criminal. As such these victims may exaggerate their claims on the harm done to them by an offender so as to ensure that offenders receive harsh punishments. Due to this reason of victims statement being used to manipulate court decisions they should not be allowed in courtrooms to voice their opinions.
Boyes-Watson, C., Krumholz, S. T., & Rich-Shea, A. M. (2014). Crime and justice: Learning through cases.
Dubber, M. D., & Hörnle, T. (2014). Criminal law: A comparative approach.
Fisher, B., & Lab, S. P. (2010). Encyclopedia of victimology and crime prevention. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.
“Thank you for your analysis of victim statements at sentencing. Opponents to this process cry a violation of the principle of equality of arms in criminal proceedings, arguing that emotional state of victims’ account may influence judges and jurors. What are your thoughts?”
Respond to the bold paragraph ABOVE base on the section above it… in APA format with At least two references…..